Clocks, Cogs, Meat Grinders


I toss and turn as I adjust to an ever changing series of aches and pains. Up early and late to bed, the clock becomes my enemy. I’m old so the clocks that inhabit my dreams are large analog machines made of heavy, rusting steel gears. A giant clock rolls over my immobile body and consumes me. In less than five hours I must get up and begin again… If I am able, which seems doubtful at this point.

It’s too soon before I’m awake (?) again and on my way to work. Isabella makes machine noises in her own peculiar single-cylinder accent that act as a counterpoint to the menacing inner workings of my bad clock dream. On the road ahead a man and woman crossing in the middle of the block begin to run as they hear us approaching. We are not moving all that fast but Isabella is a loud and animated Italian girl who demands attention.

Three motorcycles converge on the parking garage at the same time. One bike is a fast and shiny racer replica… Isabella snorts in distain. The other bike belongs to Doug. It’s a low slung V-twin Honda that looks a little like a 3/4 scale police cruiser. Doug is under the mistaken impression that his school crossing guard fluorescent colored safety vest will keep him safer than my armored jacket. I argue that people will be so distracted by their own uncontrolled laughter that he will be run over because of his high visibility costume rather than in spite of it.

Doug sets down his helmet and shouts, “That’s the loudest BMW I’ve ever heard.”

Isabella likes the attention because she is getting older and because she is quite vain.

Leaving a half-hour earlier in the morning avoids riding into the blinding sunrise. Nobody seems to notice (so far) that I have taken it upon myself to change my schedule without prior approval. Training days seem to have a different set of rules or at least an implied difference that boils down to it being in the company’s best interest to loosen its death grip on our bodies, minds and souls to free people to concentrate without worrying so much about the clock or quotas.

The work clock is a component running one level below my clock of days. It eats valuable time but provides resources I need to keep moving forward. As the giant clock of days spins dangerously faster I must run to keep up with it. Sometimes I am forced to let go of things I value just to find time to sleep. More often I am forced to give up the sleep as well causing me to exist in a fuzzy land between fatigue and bone weary exhaustion.

The week blurs past and Friday arrives. Somehow the clock of days and the clock of hours and minutes have become disconnected from each other. There do not seem to be enough total hours in each day to do everything that needs (or wants) to be accomplished but the more disturbing phenomenon is the unverifiable belief that some hours are stretched the limit of human endurance while others are compressed to total uselessness.

I wonder for a moment if anyone else in the room is currently contemplating the nature of time and existence… I think not.

I begin to turn my attention towards the weekend…